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Terrestrial Human

Hopefully you have created one or more works of your own art, so you can appreciate this entry.  FRANK KELLY FREAS was one of the demi-gods of American art… if you don’t know who he was, now is your chance to learn…

Here is another topic that can go on forever; in fact, just covering the different types of media can fill an entire web site! You have traditional media, like pencil, ink, various flavors of paint (oils, acrylic, watercolor, etc.), carvings, statues, and even tapestries; and if you can forget the costumers, you haven’t been to a Con lately! Then there are computer artists; photoshopers and 3D renderers for posters and illustrations, modelers creating game characters, avatars, and environments, or the multimedia folks generating short or full length animations. And that’s before you get to the Film/TV industry, with stop-motion specialists, makeup artists, matt artists, animators, special effects artists, and the whole CG effects sub-industry. That’s just the tip of the iceberg; but for this time around, let’s start with a few of the classics.

FRANK KELLY FREAS won 11 Hugo awards for his artwork, and was the Artist Guest of Honor at TorCon3 (World Science Fiction Convention in Toronto, 2003). On the side, he is an official NASA mission artist with works hanging in the Smithsonian, has done record album covers for bands like Queen, did the Mad Magazine covers from 1955-62, and a whole lot more.

Ed Emshwiller” was an abstract expressionist painter who created covers and interior illustrations for dozens of Fantasy and SciFi publications from 1951-79, including Analog, Galaxy and F&SF. Of his book covers, Heinlein’s Glory Road is my favorite. In the 60’s he began exploring multimedia in the form of film and video, and in 1979 released the ground-breaking three-minute 3-D computer animation Sunstone. That was also the year he became dean of the School of Film/Video at the California Institute of the Arts, where he remained until his death in 1990.

FRANK FRAZETTA was the original Naked-Ladies-of-Fantasy artist, no matter what those Boris fans claim. He was James Dean with a paintbrush, Jack Kerouac on the road to other worlds, and he had the bike to get there. If you don’t recognize his name, visit his site; you WILL recognize his work.

Another place where the edges between Science and Science Fiction are blurred beyond belief. We each have to choose our destination, and contribute to the kids having a proper education.

One of my favorite topics of conversation at parties has always been the science of science fiction. By that I don’t mean the wonderful work done by NASA’s Tools For Learning project, where they use science fiction to help teachers trick kids into learning space science. Or the many other science education sites like Frank Potter’s Science Gems>, or Bill Nye’s site.

Nor am I talking about the real science that goes into doing science fiction, this time. That topic deserves its own entry (or 12), and I will be getting to that one soon, I suspect.

What I am referring to is all those inventions that were first mentioned in a science fiction story, and then became a part of real life (or are in development now). Starting with Verne and Wells, and including authors like Philip Frances Nowlan (who in his 1928 original Buck Rogers novel predicted Walky-Talkies, Color TV, and even Amazon.Com), it is amazing how SciFi authors come up with ideas that get turned into real devices.

And there is finally a web site that puts it all together, with an online database that has to be seen to be believed. Run, don’t walk, to check out TechNOVELgy, a truly world-class web site!

Yes, I am a true Space Cadet, and I have the certification to prove it. As if you didn’t already know by now, if you have been following these blog entries. I am not sure if I feel the need to hide this attitude because even SF Geeks are more popular than Science Freaks, but hopefully you will find a few of these links worthwhile… assuming any of them still exist after all this time.

Yes, I am a true Space Cadet, and I have the certification to prove it. So what kind of web sites does a space-case like me visit for fun? I thought I would share a few of them, in the hopes you might find them worth your time as well (you’re reading this Blog, aren’t you?).

A great first stop is the Astronomy Picture of the Day from the folks at Nasa. These images are not only great eye candy, the text that comes with them can even teach you a bit about the subject for that day.

Also from Nasa is the Human Space Flight site. If there are people off the planet at the moment, this one will give you all the details. Webmasters take note, this page is worth a visit just to see how a really good home page layout can improve the quality of the browsing experience.

For the True Believers like myself, the Planetary Society web site gets regular visits. Carl Sagan’s old gang is doing a lot of important work, and there is information here you don’t want to miss out on.

Then there are the news channel pages, always worth a visit. A few good ones include SpaceRef, a great place to keep up with the latest developments. Another is Space Dot Com News, the news page for one of the best space pages online. And lets not forget the Seti Update Page, the place to learn about our progress in finding out if we are alone.

IP is at the heart of creative works, such as books, movies, and radio plays. Intellectual Property belongs to those who created it; some of them sign contracts to hand their work over to companies and corporations, but most hold onto it for dear life. After all, it may be their only shot at immortality on this planet, and what creator doesn’t want to be remembered beyond their time?

Recently I touched on Baen Book’s excellent Baen Free Library, and Project Gutenberg. I think the artist’s view of things is important. After all, they are the ones who actually create the Intellectual Property that the companies with the overzealous legal departments and hyperactive bean counters are supposedly protecting.

So how do the artists feel about this? Well, surprise, lots of them are not getting a warm-fuzzy about how well they are protected, and almost none of them are seeing the results of these legal battles in their bank accounts. Here are a few links to give you an idea; you can find a lot more by a visit to your favorite search engine.

Orson Scott Card has been writing award-winning SciFi for a bunch of years now, with a twist: his stories are concerned with Ethics, and how the protagonist deals with them. Which makes his take on the issue even more incisive.

Janis Ian is a musician who has been on both sides of the issue; from her personal experience comes a unique perspective.

Lois McMaster Bujold writes scifi with heart, and I love her Miles Vorkosagen stories. Her comments on the Book Distribution industry might help put all this into a framework that makes sense. And on the best ways to use the new tools to help the future grow into what it should be.

LM Bujold on Book Distribution

Eric Flint, author of the 1632 paratime series (and a lot more), also has some thoughts on the best way to approach this question. This link represents the results of Eric’s conversations with Jim Baen, and their combined commitment to the future, and How To Do It Right.

If you have more links to add here, on either side of the issue, please send them my way!

Still about the authors… if no one is creating the books, who will read them? Linked to the copyright clean works that are so central to the genre.

What is this doing here, you ask? This isn’t quite science fiction… or is it?

Project Gutenberg is the Internets oldest producer of FREE electronic books, to quote their ABOUT page. Way back in 1971, Michael Hart thought it would be a great idea if lots of famous and important texts were freely available to everyone in the world. Since then, he has been joined by tons of volunteers who share his vision.

If that isn’t living in the future, I don’t know what is. It took over 2 decades before most major publishing houses even noticed there was a Net, and had their marketing departments put web sites up.

If you need another reason to visit this site, check out the list of Authors who’s works are downloadable here. H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Mary Shelly; and then there are the lesser known classics, like Edwin Abbott’s Flatland, Abraham Merritt’s The Moon Pool, or William Harben’s The Land of the Changing Sun.

This site belongs in your bookmark collection; trust me on this!

Project Gutenberg

There are no stories without the story tellers. The Authors are at the heart of the matter, and whatever I can pass on may be useful to someone that loves that Author…

Most Authors have there own Web Sites, but most search engines give you 2,000 links, with 1,999 of the results being Fan Sites about the author, or some of their works. The fan sites are often some of the best sites on the web (although the search engines don’t have a ranking for quality, so there will be plenty of turkeys in the results), with info and details you can find nowhere else. And some authors are so impressed with a fan site that they will make it their official web site; that has to bring a special grin to the face of the fan who built it! But it also makes it hard to know what should be included as an official site, so Forry Ackerman, David Brin, and a number of others loose out on being included in this list until I can confirm the links.

Sometimes you just want to visit the home page of your favorite author. Here are a few Author Site links for you to visit, to start your collection…

Brian Aldiss: Brian Aldiss
Kevin J Anderson: Kevin J Anderson
Steven Baxter Steven Baxter
Greg Bear: Greg Bear
Gregory Benford Gregory Benford
Terry Bisson: Terry Bisson
Jack Chalker Jack L Chalker
C.J. Cherryh C. J. Cherryh
Thomas M. Dish Thomas M. Dish
Terry Dowling Terry Dowling
Harlan Ellison
James Alan Gardner James Alan Gardner
Lisa Goldstein Lisa Goldstein
Simon Ing: Simon Ing
Nancy Kress : Nancy Kress
Ursula K LeGuin Ursula K LeGuin
Edward M. Lerner: Edward M. Lerner
James Morrow: James Morrow
Rudy Rucker: Rudy Rucker
Fred Saberhagen:
John Shirley: John Shirley
Bruce Sterling: Bruce Sterling
Michael Stanwick: Michael Stanwick
Alastair Reynolds Alastair Reynolds
Walter Jon Williams: Walter Jon Williams
Jack Williamson: Jack Williamson

I have a lot more links in my collection, and find new ones all the time, but this should get you started!
A lot of my favorite authors are not yet on this list, so expect updates. If you are a sci-fi/fantasy author, feel free to email me with your home page link!